Holiday review 5 - San Francisco - Part 3
On my last day in San Francisco, I woke up unsure on what to do. I’d been loving walking around the city aimlessly, but the amount of poverty and dirtiness everywhere really put me off exploring new neighbourhoods.
Since my AirB&B was about 23 seconds away from the Golden Gate Park, I opted for walking all the way through it, go check out the infamous bison paddock, and eventually aim for the ocean.
My first stop within the park was the National AIDS Memorial Grove which, along with the Shakespeare Garden, was one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been to. I sat on a log for a while, in silence, admiring the softness of the rocks and the majesty of the redwoods and the rainbows intermittently created by the sprinklers.
It took me a good three hours to get to the bison paddock, mostly because I stopped every two minutes to take pictures of the trees and the leaves and the flowers. Also, I got lost several times.
After verifying that bison are way bigger than I thought, I proceeded along J.F. Kennedy Drive and finally made it to the ocean, which was another emotional peak of my trip along with City Lights. As the cold water splashed against my shins and my feet sunk in the wet sand, I thought, I live on the other side of this. My heart ached a little.
When I started getting hungry I slowly walked back, procured two humongous slices of pizza somewhere in Haight-Ashbury, found a quiet, shaded spot in the park and happily devoured them.
It was only 5ish when I decided I had dragged it long enough. I honestly didn’t know what else to do. I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, I had to pack, and I needed to take a poop and a shower, so I headed back to the AirB&B.
When I got there, I found a bunch of stuff dumped in the corridor. My first thought was, Oh look, someone has my same backpack - until I realised, that was my backpack. That was my stuff.
I froze and couldn’t understand what was going on. Then I checked my phone and found a bunch of messages from my host asking me where the hell I was and that I’d missed check out day and somebody else was moving into the room so they had to take all my stuff out. I couldn’t believe I messed up the dates but then I double checked and realised it was true, I had agreed to check out the 15th and not the 16th as I thought.
I briefly panicked as I still needed to poop and shower and I had no place to do that (although I could have used the toilet there, I was still in after all. But in the confusion of the moment I didn’t really think about that.)
I quickly considered my options:
Ask the host to stay another night. There were three more rooms in the same AirB&B, but they were all double or triple so they would have been more expensive. Plus I felt such an idiot for messing up the dates that I didn’t want to beg to stay there any longer.
Sleep at the airport since I had to catch an early flight the day after anyway. But I needed some space to pack up properly and I knew it was important to get a good night’s sleep before a long flight - plus where was I gonna shower at the airport, not to mention the impossibility of taking a shit in a public toilet.
Replicate the Unspeakable Travelodge Experience. The first time Giac and I went the States, we spent our last night in the airport Travelodge in San Francisco because we were flying early in the morning the day after. The room we got was possibly the most disgusting accommodation I’ve ever set my foot in, featuring cracked walls, cockroaches in the shower and mysterious stains on the pillows. BUT it was affordable and location-convenient.
Within minutes I had booked a room at Travelodge and my Uber was on its way.
My Uber driver turned out to be one of the worst human beings I was unfortunate enough to have a conversation with (arrogant, self-centred dick is what first comes to mind if I had to describe him). He did get me there in one piece but reminded me why I occasionally lose hope in humanity. No tip for you, asshole.
I checked in my room and happily verified there were no cockroaches to be seen. It was actually quite nice to have my own bathroom and a lot of space to pack up and organise my belonging.
I soon found the one TV channel that airs Friends 24/7 and proceeded to get my shit together.
To be fair, I am surprised by how well I responded to a possible anxiety-inducing situation. Considering this was the holiday that was supposed to give me my independence back, I think I handled it pretty well. Not everything went smoothly, but when shit hit the fan I knew how to handle it.
I patted myself on the shoulder, got everything ready for the following morning, watched Friends until I could feel my eyeballs falling out, found a stain-free pillow and fell fast, fast asleep.